'I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy': Woman engulfed in flames for five minutes after horrific bonfire accident

Louise Chadwick, 39, suffered horrendous burns when she was covered in flames while setting fire to an old wardrobe.

Louise Chadwick

Whilst refurbishing her daughter's bedroom with her daughter's ex-boyfriend Jamie Lynch, then 17, they ripped out the wardrobe and decided to burn it in the garden.

But when Louise poured petrol on the furniture, she didn't realise that Jamie had already got the fire going - and the flames suddenly exploded.

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The fuel can Louise was holding immediately caught fire and she dropped it on the floor and slipped over, spilling petrol over herself.

It took a year for Louise's burns to heal

In a split second, her entire lower body was engulfed in flames and the burning petrol that drenched her clothes began to creep up her body.

Louise, from Radcliffe, Manchester, said: "At first I was in complete shock.

"Everything happened so fast from the moment I poured the petrol to the horror that came afterwards.

"My arms went up first, but things really got serious when I slipped and drenched myself in petrol fluid.

Louise was burning an old wardrobe when the accident happened

"That's when my leggings set alight and the flames started to rise up towards my torso.

"I could feel the heat quickly nearing my face, but I couldn't get my trousers off because I was wearing my partners slippers.

"Jamie was trying to help me get them off but he was in complete shock at what was happening.

"It felt like I was burning for a lifetime, and I genuinely thought this is how my life is going to end."

After five minutes of unimaginable pain, with the help of her youngest daughter Georgia Mulvey, 19, Louise finally managed to put herself out.

Georgia, who was upstairs at the time, came rushing down to the sound of Louise's screams, and filled up several jugs of water to frantically throw over her mother.

Eventually, Louise's clothes were wet enough to extinguish the flames and she was able to briefly escape the torture she'd just endured.

However, the aftermath of the accident proved equally horrific as Louise suddenly realised the severity of her burns.

The mum of three suffered third degree burns all over her lower body and arms leaving her in need of a skin graft.

Louise was airlifted to hospital as a result of her injuries and spent the next two weeks in intensive care.

In total she suffered 13 severe burns on her shins, thighs, legs, feet, arms, hands and lower torso.

It took over a year for her burns to heal, but the scars she has will stay with her forever - both physically and mentally.

Shortly after the accident in 2017, Louise was diagnosed with PTSD which can be triggered by everyday activities including filling the car up with petrol.

She also has an extreme phobia of any kind of open flame - making fireworks and bonfire night a terrifying occasion.

"Every day that goes by I still think about what happened," Louise said.

"The scars on my body have healed as much as they ever will, but it's my mental health that's been damaged the most.

"The first time I went to fill my car up since the accident I started screaming in the middle of the petrol station - in that moment I felt so much fear.

"I've had countless nightmares where I've woken up thinking I was burning and my kids have had to come in and calm me down.

"Over the years, I have been terrified of bonfire night and fireworks, but I have a grandson now, and I don't want to miss out on important parts of his childhood.

"This year, I'm going to face my fears head on surrounded by my family, and speaking out about my accident is definitely a way of helping me accept what's happened.

"I want people to realise the dangers associated with bonfires and how quickly things can go wrong.

"I wouldn't wish what happened to me upon my worst enemy and I hope everyone out there stays safe this bonfire night.

"I'd also like to thank Jamie and Georgia for helping me when I needed it most - and I'm so grateful for all their support."

In light of her accident, Louise has retrained as a hair and make-up artist, to help burn victims feel happy with their appearance.

She recently gained her industry qualifications with the help of her daughters, and can't wait to see where her new career take her in the future.